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* Sri Lanka Tamil party demands to include foreign judges in war crimes probe
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 10:00 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 22, Colombo: A day after the UN again adopted a consensus resolution granting Sri Lanka two more years to implement the commitments it made in 2015 resolution, the main Tamil party, Tamil national Alliance on Friday demanded the state to adhere to the commitments and include foreign judges in a judicial mechanism to probe the alleged war crimes.

Speaking in parliament, TNA parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran noted that Sri Lanka for the third time co-sponsored the UN resolution reiterating commitment to adhere to the commitments of Resolution 30/1 of 2015.

He said Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana's claim that it is not possible for foreign judges to participate in Sri Lanka's judicial mechanism is false.

"Sri Lanka again committed to foreign judges in judicial mechanism and it is false to state otherwise. Despite this Foreign Minister says it is not possible for foreign judges to participate in judicial mechanism. This is false."

Foreign Minister Marapana in his statement to the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday said that if non-citizen judges are to be appointed in a judicial process, it will not be possible without an amendment to the Constitution by two-third of members of the Parliament voting in favor and also the approval of the people at a referendum.

MP Sumanthiran pointed out that on previous occasions Sri Lanka has agreed it was possible to include foreign judges in the country's judicial mechanisms.

"In 2015, then Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapaksa agreed it was possible to have foreign judges under Sri Lanka Constitution. Resolution 30/1 was signed (in 2015) on his agreement," he said.

MP Sumanthiran argued that the state of Sri Lanka cannot be an independent arbiter and warned that unless Sri Lanka agrees to include international judges in an accountability mechanism, the Tamil people will have to move towards an entirely international judicial mechanism.

"IF Sri Lankan government does not adhere to commitment of including foreign judges in judicial mechanism, the Tamil people will be left with no choice but to take steps to move towards an entirely international judicial mechanism," he warned.

Our people have been asking for it, that Sri Lanka be referred to the International Criminal Court," Sumanthiran said.

 

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